Friday, July 22, 2011

what to do, what to do...

Last summer, I learned the hard way that it is imperative that Avery has a plan for each day. It doesn't have to encompass the whole day, but there has to be something to accomplish or look forward to. Despite my not-so-structured nature, I've been able to accommodate that need better this summer, but...

With the last minute nature of Miles' surgery, I really didn't have much of a plan for how to deal with the rest of the kids. Within a few hours, Avery was driving me NUTS because he didn't have any structure. He had read all of his library books. He didn't have Miles to play with. We don't have video games. He I couldn't host a friend. What could he do???

Ever since our trip to Dick's sporting goods the other day, Avery has been perseverating on the idea of getting catcher's equipment. So, I made the mistake of letting him look for a set on Amazon and he became quickly obsessed with saving up for it. I'm all for safety in baseball, hard work and saving up, but did I really have capacity to deal with this??? It takes a lot of work to put your kids to work.

Out of sheer necessity to preserve my sanity, I put Avery to work this morning to clean up our construction site/family room. He worked his tail off and organized, moved tools, swept and vacuumed it up. Ch-ching. He made bank.

But, he wanted more work... (ugh...)

I got out a ladder and had him work on pulling off a rotten board from our garage. He worked on it for awhile, but then determined he needed a saws-all to finish the job. Okay...but I couldn't devote time and attention to overseeing that project. Ch-ching. He made a little bit for good effort.

But, he still needed more to do... (

So...after thinking for a few moments, I figured now would be a good time for him to learn how to cut-in and roll-on paint. He's 10, right?! But, first he had to sand and prep the walls (just a little bit). And then he had to remove the switch plate and railing (yay for getting to use tools!). He's really focused and loving his job. Ch-CHING! He's definitely gonna earn a good wage for this one!

Here he is working on the stairway down to our basement. We've needed to paint it for five years. I think I like having an eager 10-year-old!!!

You might wonder why I didn't have him unload the dishwasher or do laundry. Well, he has to do those things on an almost daily basis. Pro bono. That comes with the territory of being in our family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

all in a day's work

People ask what life is like with four kids. First of all, I LOVE being a mother and I LOVE my kids. But, to answer their question, I tell them that it's manageable, but that us + anything else is hard. Here's a debrief of the last 24 hours:

1. Drywall went up in the family room. Thanks, Dan! (He doesn't read this blog. Just thought I'd give a subtle clue that we didn't do it. very subtle.)
2. The house still stunk yesterday. Thanks, Dead Animal! You smell bigger than you probably are!
3. Took the kids to Dick's sporting goods and was tempted to buy catcher's equipment to protect my kids from further on...
4. Called Miles' pediatrician because he took a baseball to the face three weeks ago (freak accident) and now that the swelling and discoloration are gone, it appears his nose is crooked. Was referred to ENT. (BTW, I had taken him to the ER when he was injured and they thought everything was absolutely fine. bastards.)
5. ENT wanted to see Miles yesterday, so we went.
6. Within 20 minutes of the appointment, we were scheduling Miles for surgery for tomorrow to correct broken nose. (No, they are not going to re-break it.) None of us have ever been put under anesthesia. Pray for Miles.
7. Avery's team played in ridiculously uncomfortable heat. And there were biting bugs. They lost in extra innings.
8. After the game, I hung out with good buddies Kari and Megan and had much needed laughs and heart-to-hearts.
9. Got a text while there from Brent that read verbatim: "Does Phoebe have any diapers? She's wearing a a hybrid cloth duct tape concoction right now!" I thought he was serious. Laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. He had actually put her in a rarely used cloth diaper.
10. Came home and talked until midnight-ish.
11. Woke up at 5am with killer low back pain. Fell back asleep at 6am.
12. Woke up again at 8, needing to get a shower, get everyone fed, dressed and out the door by 8:45. (I seriously hadn't brushed my hair since Saturday. I had taken a shower, but we've been going at such a frenetic pace that I'm pretty sure there was no time for a luxury such as brushing ones hair.)
13. Upon waking up, Jillian said she needed to throw up. She didn't. She was just tired, I think.
14. Phoebe pooped in that cloth diaper. I was going to try to clean it, but I tossed that Bum Genius away after gagging at the smell.
15. My low back was throbbing with pain. I got a deep tissue massage. psych.
16. Avery took antibiotics, because, of course he was diagnosed with Strep a few days ago.
17. Somehow we all got on the road by 9:03am. Only 18 minutes behind schedule...
18. Jillian went to camp.
19. Miles went to his pre-op appointment. Cleared.
20. Cold press coffee at Caribou. finally.
21. Costco trip. Bought a month's supply of diapers, bread and frozen pizza.
22. DQ drive-thru for the boys' lunch.
23. Picked up Jillian from camp while ominous clouds formed overhead.
24. McD's drive-thru for Jillian's and Phoebe's lunch. Torrential downpour ensued during this time.
25. Got to garage, but stayed there to watch golf-ball sized hail crashing down. Very cool.
26. Our house still stinks.
27. Gotta figure out dinner, clean up, do laundry, put stuff away and get Avery back to the fields by 4:30.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

i'm so good at keeping the blog updated. (and has anyone seen my camera?)

I'm terribly inconsistent. I had a gentle reminder that it would appear Avery never came home from camp. Let's try to give some updates, shall we?

1. Avery loved camp. I'll be honest. It wasn't SO bad while he was gone. The best part about his absence was that he's a pseudo-picky eater. So, even though he will actually eat a wide variety of foods, he complains and makes a stink about veggies on pizza and having to go to Chipotle (what?!) and having spaghetti sauce (but he likes lasagna, people!). The worst part about him being gone was just not knowing what he was doing. But, then I would remember what camp was like for me and knew he was having a blast. Getting that first hug from him after nearly a week made me cry. And, he was so excited --or maybe relieved--to see Miles when we finally got home. But he's so subtle, I might have been the only one who noticed.

2. Oh, by the way, my parents were here from Romania and I just LOVED visiting with them. They were so helpful and gracious and I'm looking forward to them swinging through the Twin Cities in August before they head back to the other side of the world!

3. Did you know MN government is shutdown? Pretty much going about as usual. SO grateful our libraries were not closed. Bummer for those crazy folks who like to camp though. State parks are closed down. In one of the few months it's actually possible to camp in Minnesota. Crazy. Also, no building inspectors or regulation spies are lurking about the city. Ah, Minneapolis feels safer somehow.

4. This past week, Jillian went to her first summer camp. While she was at her camp, the boys were at their camp. While the boys were at their camp, Phoebe was napping. If you do the math, you'll notice that I had no children saying "mommymommymommy" for about 2 hours (for two days anyway). I had complete thoughts. It gave me hope for what my brain might be like in a few years.

5. A few days ago, I smelled a vague offensive odor near our living room (which is filled with our family room furniture). The next day, I came home and immediately asked the babysitter if Phoebe was poopy. Nope. It definitely smelled like something was rotting in the trash, but it wasn't. It was emanating from the fireplace. What was it? Not sure exactly, but I this helpful information:

The animal falls or climbs down the chimney but can’t get back up the chimney. The poor guy meets a slow death. The story does not end here. As the body decomposes, maggots and flies develop. Soon the decaying animal body begins to stink and flies enter your home. This usually only lasts a month or two. The best way to solve this issue is to have a brave chimney technician remove your damper and reach up inside the fireplace and remove the decaying animal body. Don’t forget your gloves! (via)

ugh. Thanks to friendly advice on Facebook, Brent sealed up the fireplace with some poly sheeting and I'll get a chimney guru out asap.

6. Did I mention that it was like 90million degrees yesterday. And that there was something dead in our house. Cool. K.

7. Avery (and his entourage, aka the rest of the family) are immersed in tournament baseball for about 10 days. He just played in state with his team and did a fairly good job, but got knocked out by the team that took first place. He literally played 5 games in 24 hours. (Three of those game were shortened to 4 innings) He continues the momentum tonight and will play through Sunday (if they keep winning). During this time, I will make three balanced meals a day and shop frugally and keep our house clean and remember to apply sunscreen on everyone. ;)

8. We're trying to encourage Jillian to eat healthy food. It's hard when she's practically being raised on concession stand fare. Today I told her she needed to eat fruit instead of candy. She tried to convince me that candy IS a fruit. I think she actually believed this. And the candy was not even Skittles; it was a Charleston Chew.

9. Phoebe refuses to talk. She'll say a few words, but if we ask her to say something new, she bats her eyes and shakes her head, "no." It's adorable.

10. I end with a picture. I think it was about a month ago, that Avery's team won a tournament. He is seen here receiving his trophy and about to shake hands with a player from the team who took second.